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A Collection Development Policy Template Proposal for Transportation Libraries

Roberto Sarmiento, NUTL, and Jennifer Boteler, FHWA Research Library
October 13, 2011

Slide 2: A Collection Development Policy Template Proposal for Transportation Libraries

Roberto A. Sarmiento, Northwestern University Transportation Library
Jennifer Boteler, (MacroSys, LLC contract librarian), FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

All documents presented as part of this project are available under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/.

Jennifer and I will like thank the NTL and AASHTO – Amanda and Bob – for the opportunity to present our project. We both are very excited about the template and instructions and it is our sincere hope that you will find them useful.

A little about logistics: Jennifer and I will run the presentation, about 30-35 minutes. We will also have some volunteers who have already used the template share their experiences and then the last 15-20 minutes will be for questions.

Also, be advised that this presentation is a brief look of a rather substantial document and that it has been modified to fit your screen and time. We encourage you to go the original source at the LIST committee website and download the documentation for a full experience.

So lets begin…

Slide 3: Introduction

  • History
  • Goals
  • Future
  • Bottom line

To get us started, Jennifer will talk about collection development policies or CDP's in general,

What were and are our project goals,

And what are our future expectations….


Slide 4: Image

Around a year and ½ ago, I started researching collection development policies while updating the FHWA Research Library collection development policy composed/adopted in 2006.

Slide 5: Resources on Collection Development

WorldCat search by LC Subject Headings:

Collection development (Libraries) -- United States. (392)
Collection development (Libraries)-- United States -- Policy statements. (56)

Things have changed a lot since I've been involved with comprehensive collection development polices for large libraries and since I was in library school learning collection development theories. So I tried to bring myself up to speed on current guidelines and best practices with regards to collection development polices. There is a ton of information out there on collection development and CDPs. For instance, if you search WorldCat by subject this is how many hits you'll get.

Of course some of these were duplicate records and some were not in English…

Slide 6: Library collection development policies : academic, public, and special libraries / Frank W. Hoffman and Richard J. Wood. Scarecrow Press, 2005.

Fundamentals of collection development and management / Peggy Johnson. American Library Association, 2009.

If, before implementing our Collection Development Policy template, you want to read some background information and get a broader view of collection development, these are two books that I found to be very useful.

In addition to books, there are other resources such as magazine/journal articles, guidelines from various library organizations, and websites.

Slide 7: ALA Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS)
Collection Management Resources



For instance, two sites I found myself launching from were the ALA Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (next slide)

Slide 8: AcqWeb

Gathering place for librarians and other professionals interested in acquisitions and collection development. http://acqweb.org/

And Acquisitions Web. See LIS Resources and then Collection Development. You can’t see it very well in his screen shot, but there are links to collection development policies on the web.

And there are other websites with links to collection development information such as the Library of Congress and the Internet Library for Librarians.

Slide 9: Guidelines for a Collection Development Policy Using the Conspectus Model International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions


Why a Written Collection Development Policy?
Due to technological developments, libraries are, in the main, moving from holdings ('just in case') to access ('just in time') strategies. This implies that collecting policies are significantly changing and that libraries need to disseminate widely information on their collecting policies.

The wider context

As individual libraries are increasingly unable to provide all their services by themselves, they are banding together into cooperatives, alliances and consortia. For these ventures to work, there must be mutual knowledge and agreement on which library is collecting what. A written collection development policy therefore often serves as a basis for wider cooperation and resource sharing, whether in a locality, region, country, or even internationally.

I really started researching CDPs in earnest last year while co-facilitating the NTKN Cooperative Collection Development group.

We determined that in order to know "Who was Collecting What" to identify possible collaborative efforts, we first needed to know what we were collecting. But few transportation libraries have collection development policies.

Slide 10: Goal: Develop a flexible and scalable collection development policy template that could become a first step towards the development of a much-needed national cooperative collection development policy.

Selectors will:
•Review research needs of agency
•Gather collection metrics and do collection analysis
•Write own collection development policy

Last January at the TRB Annual Meeting, Roberto and I ran into each other in the exhibit hall and started talking about Collection Development. When he invited me to help him with a "Transportation Libraries Collection Development Policy Template Project" he was working on I jumped at the chance.

Both because I had been drowning in too much information and not sure of how to proceed with composing a new CDP, but also because we both hoped that given this tool other transportation libraries would utilize it and create their own CDPs.

We recognized the difficulty of developing and writing a collection development policy without a firm directive or because of a lack of experience in writing one. So we have aimed at presenting a template flexible enough to be used by everyone in the transportation information community. The Guidelines present ideas, pose questions, and highlight issues that selectors could or should address when writing their policy.

If you don't already have a collection development policy, we invite to try composing one using this template. We see this as a beginning– a jumping off place. We're starting a "discussion" and invite you to participate and provide feedback and suggestions for improvements or enhancements.

Slide 11: Methodology

  • TKN
  • Academic & special libraries
  • Possible formats and templates
  • Sections and content
  • What not to include
  • Testing and feedback

Thank you Jennifer,

To develop our template and guidelines, we reviewed the CDPs collected by Jennifer's TKN project and added them to a number of examples and literature we had collected for an academic and special libraries project.

We experimented with and discussed several possible formats and templates, as well as, working on what sections to use and how these would fit together in a template and what content to place under each section.

We wanted something simple, scalable and flexible. It took a while to figure out that what we really wanted was a "one size fits all" approach: from a one pager bare bones document to a multi-page "everything and the kitchen sink" CDP. A document that could be easily prepared by a recently minted librarian, as well as, a "have seen everything" veteran with years of experience.

An un-anticipated benefit of the research was the development of a list of "things" we thought should not be included in a CDP…so we decided to include this list in the guidelines as well.

And finally, once things were all kind of in place, we contacted friends to ask them if they would be willing to write their own CDP using our template.

Slide 12: Why is a CDP important?

  • Documentation
  • Guiding principles
  • Library management
  • Gift management
  • Acquisition tool
  • Time to reflect
  • PR
  • ……..

So, why is it important to write a CDP? Jennifer mentioned some reasons earlier and as a team we had our own reasons to develop the template.

But, we would like for you to keep in mind that this is your opportunity to tell your collection's story in your own words. At the end of your CDP writing project, you should be proud of it.

Yes, it is good to have historical documentation; yes, it will help guide your acquisition and gift management duties; yes, it will remind you and will let the world know what types of materials you will or should be acquiring, etc…

But as a manager, writing your own CDP will force you to take time to reflect about your collection, to think about how to better serve your users through your collection, to think about where the organization is going and how your library will fit in that future….and as library managers we need to take the time to do this heavy thinking.

Plus, very simply, it is good PR…it is something you can show your managemet.

Slide 13: Template
(Library Name) Collection Development Policy

  • I. Selector/librarian contact information
    • Name:
    • E-mail:
    • Phone:
    • Library/collection homepage:
  • II. Overview of the collection
  • III. Description of materials collected
  • IV. Related collections and consortial activity
  • V. Other collection information

Policy revisions

So drum roll please, here is our CDP template.

Five sections or less depending on how much effort you want to put into it.

Slide 14: Template (broad) guidelines

  • It is a recommendation
  • Follow the pattern
  • It is up to you
  • The more information you gather, the better
  • It will take time
  • Make it your own – It is flexible
  • Goal is for reader to know your collection
  • Publish the CDP

Before we go into the template details, some broad guidelines:

Let me remind you that this template is just a recommendation. You do not have to use it if you do not want to. It is not sponsored by any organization, nor is it a standard for the transportation community.

However, if you do use it, we recommend you follow the pattern we have developed. We feel it makes the story flow better.

Word of caution: be aware that it will take time and work to find all the information you may need; it will take time to do the collection analysis; it will take time to talk to your users; it will take time to think about stuff and it will definitely take time write the thing. But it is our sincere believe that the more information you have the better the CDP will be.

But above all, make it your own, tell your own story, the flexibility of the template will support you.

The goal is to make the readers feel that after reading the CDP they know what your collection is all about.

Finally, publish the CDP in your library website and promote it to your management.

Slide 15: I. Contact Information

I. Selector/librarian contact information
Library/collection homepage:

So lets look at each of the template sections:

Gathering information, analyzing it and writing a collection development policy for your library will be an important undertaking. Thus, it is necessary that readers have a clear and immediate sense of who is responsible for this document. Having the selector's name, email, phone number and the library's URL at the top of the policy serves not only as a way to identify the librarian responsible for managing the collection, but as a declaration of ownership.

Slide 16: II. Overview of the collection
•Collection history
•Library's mission statement (agency's mission)
•Major units, programs, offices served (URLs!)
•Other locations

First, we need to set the stage.

It is important to provide readers with the sense that the collection has developed historically: collections just do not appear out of nothing, rather, they are shaped by the long history of our institutions and researchers interest and needs through time. Here, you must tell the story of your collection, how it developed.

There may be a written or an oral history of how your collection developed. Or maybe not. You will need to decide whether to conduct historical research to include it here. Again, like everything else in this template, it is up to you what you wish to include.

Another factor when preparing a collection policy is the library's mission statement, if available, and if not, the mission statement for the division under which the library is located or the agency's mission statement. It is critical to fit your CDP to your library's and organization's mission . You may want to describe how the library support these missions through collection development.

Another good point to include will be a list of specific units or departments supported by the library. This will help tie agency programs and the library as partners. If possible, link to the departments' websites.

Finally, selectors should document the locations for all their collections and specifically, point out cases where collections are housed in remote locations.

Slide 17: III. Description of materials collected

  • CDP core
  • Good/in-depth understanding of collection(s)
  • Broad subjects emphasized or excluded
  • Areas of strengths and/or weaknesses
  • Areas of current and future emphasis
  • Bibliographic formats and genres collected (or not)
  • Chrnological scope, geographical coverage, languages

This section is the core of the policy and where selectors must strive to present the collection in the most thorough and accurate way. This section is the distillation of the time spent conducting in-depth reviewing; analyzing; assessing; and comparing the collection.
You must describe broad subject areas emphasized or excluded from the collection, and detail particular areas of strength and weakness.
In addition to what is currently collected you may want to include what will be collected in the future or subjects areas you would like to develop.

In here also provide description of bibliographic formats and genres collected, as well as those not collected, such as: monographs, periodicals, dissertations, conference proceedings, etc. in paper, microform, electronic, etc.

Also, if applicable, this is the place to drill down to more subtle, but just as important tangential aspects such as, chronological scope, geographical coverage and language emphases of the collection.

Slide 18: III. Description of materials …cont.

  • Special collections
  • Acquisition agreements
  • Gifts and exchange programs
  • Repository agreements
  • Retention guidelines
  • For special cases (or extra points)
    • In-depth subject analysis
    • LC collection levels

If available, selectors should also specify types of special collections held, such as historical photographs, audiovisual collections, maps, or local subject collections.
If applicable, describe acquisition agreements, such as, distribution lists; gift and exchange agreements; internal/external repository agreements, etc.
This is also a good place to include either broad or specific retention guidelines influencing the development of the collection.
In some special cases, selectors may want to include an in-depth analysis of historical and contemporary collection levels. You will see that all our examples include this type of in-depth analysis. However, for some collections, this may not be necessary.
Finally, we recommend that the description be as thorough and complete as possible, while at the same time being concise and direct. A good collection development policy will leave the reader with a very good idea of what the collection looks like.

Slide:19. Related collections and consortial activity
•Demonstrate value beyond physical collection
•Do not exist in vacuum
•Support of multiple networks
•Expand collection universe
•Document partnerships and benefits to library/organization

Access to research collections is no longer limited by the physical structures of our libraries or agencies; the interconnectivity of our collections will continue to expand in the years to come and we need to make sure our users realize, and take advantage, of this ever-expanding research horizon.

For close to ten years now our community has been working on developing strong networks at the regional and national levels. Networks such as the regional TKNs and the Pooled Fund have and will continue to impact in some degree how our collections are developed. In addition, some libraries take full advantage of other non-transportation related networks at the local, state, regional and national level.
All these networks and agreements strengthen and expand the collection universe available to our researchers and therefore ought to be documented and highlighted as part of our CDP.

So, we recommend that you describe or list membership and involvement in consortial partnerships or any formal/informal agreements related to the collection. Examples may include: TKN ILL agreements; an agreement with a state agency to perform your cataloguing; belonging to a statewide library system for cost effective ILL services; an ad-hoc agreement with another library to maintain subscriptions; access commercial databases through an university; etc.

All these are very important and management do take notice of money saving measures!

Slide 20: V. Other collection information

  • Whatever not covered above
  • See section "What not to include" below

Use this section to describe collection issues not covered in any of the above sections.

Some topics may include description of purchase procedures; acquisition agreements; practices specific to your collection; gift and exchange policies; description of standing orders; approval plans and blanket orders; etc.

However, don't go overboard. See section on what not to include below.

Slide 21: Policy revisions
•CDPs are not a one shot deal
•It should "breathe"
•Read once a year
•Document and date minor changes
•Good PR
•Major revision/re-write after 8-10 years?

Finally, the last section of the template is a small, but somewhat important one.

We recommend that selectors review their CDPs at least once a year, OK, maybe every two year, but please do read it every once in a while. Selectors should take the time to think about and document major - and minor - shifts in their collection behavior patterns and document and date these as part of an addendum to the CDP. People leave, departments re-organize, budgets disappear, governments change….all these things will affect what we collect….and we should be attuned to these changes and be able to document them.
This periodic revision and documenting will not only help the selector keep thinking about the direction the collection is taking, but also provide readers with a visual cue that the library's collection development policy is a living, ever evolving document. It is alive and it breathes – it expands and contracts…..

Then, from experience, after several years, you will be due for a major revision or a complete re-write…

Slide 22: What not to include in a CDP
•Purchasing information
•Future library goals
•Description of library services
•Requests/complaints for: funding, space, equipment, staff, etc.

As I mentioned earlier, during the course of the project, we had the opportunity to review a large number of collection development policies from libraries within and outside transportation.

Based on this review we developed a list of issues that we recommend not be included as part of a CDP.

Although valid and certainly important to the selectors, some of these issues perhaps should be documented and presented as standalone policy documents, project reports, or internal memoranda.

Here are some examples:….

Slide 23: What not to include in a CDP…cont.
•Avoid hard numbers
•Avoid singling out staff
•Avoid partitioning document
•List of specific titles (maybe?)

Here we have some other things we recommend you avoid:

Slide 23: Next steps
•Overview, template, guidelines and examples located at the TRB LIST committee website http://sites.google.com/site/trblist/
•Invite to use and leave feedback - PENDING
•Develop organic, community-based document
•CDP Bank – Open for deposits
•Keep conversation going

So that's the template and…what's next?

All the documentation and examples are now available at the TRB-LIST committee website.

We invite you to download the documents and examples and leave feedback. (Feedback mechanism is not quite yet ready: We are awaiting a website redesign in order to be able to do this.)

But, we do want your feedback, we want this to be a community effort and for the documentation to grow organically.

So, if you do write a CDP using the template, we will like to ask you to share your policy with the community: send a copy to the CDP Bank (also on the upcoming LIST website). Our four examples will be there.

And, please, keep the conversation going….

Slide 24: Testimonials
•Jennifer Boteler, FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
•John Cherney, WisDOT Transportation Library
•A. J. Million, MoDOT Transportation Library

As part of the documentation, we have included 4 CDP examples from 2 state DOTs, one federal and one academic library.

Our volunteers will now have each a couple of minutes to tell you about their experiences.

Slide 25: Testimonial of Jennifer Boteler FHWA Research Library

While working on the NTKN Cooperative Collection Development Group, I discovered there is a lot of information about collection development policies including varying opinions about what should and shouldn't be included, method of subject analysis, and level of detail. In addition, most examples are geared towards a certain type of library (public, academic, etc.) and weren't applicable to our situation.

Faced with updating the FHWA Research Library CDP, I was frozen by indecision as to what type and format of CDP to model.

Having the CDP template helped take away all of that indecision. The instructions were very useful. If a certain section in the Northwestern University Transportation Library CDP example wasn't applicable to us, the instructions helped me know what other types of information regarding our collection would be applicable under that section.

Doing the exercise made me update information I hadn't compiled in several years. It also prompted me to document certain aspects of the collection that I knew from institutional memory and others might not be aware of should I leave.

These were my initial thoughts when Roberto asked me to document my experience after actually using the template. The new draft document is totally different from the one I showed you at the beginning of the presentation. The draft CDP contains much more useful information. It went from 2 to 7+ pages.

I'd like to emphasize what Roberto said about composing a CDP not being a one shot deal– that it needs to be constantly updated. I composed the new draft CDP several months ago and already I need to make changes. We've made some policy decisions regarding retention guidelines and we've changed some of our subscription databases.

In addition, I expect that as we continue to work through our backlog of un-cataloged materials, and after we move the library to a new location there will be even more changes.

Slide: 26: Thank you!
Jennifer Jennifer.Boteler.CTR@dot.gov
Roberto r-sarmiento@northwestern.edu
Or keep the conversation going at tranlib@sla.lyris.net

Thank you….

We encourage you to keep the conversation going either by contacting us or by posting your comments/questions to the SLA LIST…

But we are now open for questions…..